GL-AR150 internal OR external antenna?

Hi all,
Does anyone have this device (GL-AR150) and can say how good is internal antenna? (I need to have a range of 15 -20m max with good signal),
Also, any comments/opinions about this device and its performance?


External vs. internal probably isn't going to make a noticeable difference for most users, assuming the unit is reasonably placed. Many routers with "external antennas" use patch or other internal antennas and just have the big, black sticks up to appearances more than performance. "My router has more, bigger, badder antennas than yours" -- This trend for "fat" antennas is pretty amusing as it's still not much more than a piece of wire inside.

Placement -- important. Pieces of metal near your router, especially in the same plane as the antenna, can "short it out", significantly reducing your range. How close is close? The wavelength at 2.4 GHz is ~12 cm so that is definitely close, 3x that, ~30 cm / a foot, is getting to be "far". Bottom line, don't put it on a metal shelf, but your wooden bookcase or shelf is probably fine, even if it has metal brackets holding it up at the ends.

I've got its replacement, the AR300M and think it's a great unit for the price. I've also got the GL.iNet AR750S and consider the build quality of both to be excellent, comparable or superior to the big names out there. The GL.iNet firmware is, at least right now, 18.06.1 with LuCI, plus GL.iNet's travel-friendly package selection and UI. GL.iNet's git repo is current and builds, flashes, and runs cleanly. The U-Boot they supply can enter a browser-based mode without serial access.

Personally, I'd recommend the AR300 series over the AR150 due to its much more powerful SoC (650 vs. 400 MHz MIPS) and 128 MB RAM. If the AR300M-Lite units are still available, they are, for me, a slam-dunk over the AR150. The AR300M units with 128 MB of NAND flash are a bit more expensive (~US$40 vs. $32). The GL-AR750 (no "S") has been replaced by the AR750S ("Slate") and is available at a very attractive price (~$45) for a dual-band travel-size router. There is also the MT300N-v2 which uses a MediaTek SoC at the ~$20 price point, though I personally haven't owned any MediaTek-based devices.

The AR300M also has a 2x2 configuration over the AR150, which provides antenna diversity as well as potentially higher throughput

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Hi Jeff,
thanks for detailed answer.
After reading im actually now thinking to get AR300M with 128 MB of NAND flash.
However, some questions here:

  1. According to this link:[Model*~]=AR300 the NAND flash (128 MB) must be somehow "forced into booting from NOR flash". How to do that?

  2. I assume NOR is the default flash memory = 16MB and by doing point 1, I will dsable it OR it stands as a boot partition and the major part of OS is installed on NAND?

  3. Is this the right image for this device?

  4. If point 3 is correct then why in the snapshot repository there is distinction for: glinet_gl-ar300m-nor-squashfs-sysupgrade.bin and there is nothhing for NAND?

Short answer, I have full NAND support for the GL-AR300M and GL-AR750S running on commits off master on the ath79 platform on my desk. I've got to get the driver for some older flash used in early AR300M production submitted to upstream Linux, then I'll be able to get the patches submitted to OpenWrt.

Even shorter answer, AR300M runs great on GL.iNet v3 firmware (18.06.1 base) and "vanilla" OpenWrt shouldn't be too far away.

The start of the longer answer, support for SPI NAND wasn't possible in a way that was satisfactory to upstream Linux until Linux 4.19, which was only recently made available on OpenWrt master.

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If I understand you correctly, you compile image for your devices from the mainline: and commits:

What I am asking is more basic:

  1. Is there "vanilla" (OpenWRT) prebuilt image that will simply work with GL-AR300M + 128 MB NAND (without doing any modifications like: "forced into booting from NOR flash")
  2. If "forced into booting from NOR flash" is still required: how/where to do it? (is there physical switch OR I need to login to the device and set it in some configuration file?)

tried one of these too with my ar150:

didnt find substantial difference with the normal external one (but I dont have meters to read the signals)

but you can stick it out of the window

No, not the GL.iNet sources based on 18.06.1. I have ported the GL-AR300M and GL-AR750S to use the upstream Linux SPI-NAND framework. This is for current OpenWrt and it uses the next kernel supported there for the ath79 platform, 4.19. I am in the process of upstream submission, which would then make it generally available on OpenWrt master.

OK, so let me see what I understand now:
Your current work for NAND support for GL-AR300M and GL-AR750S:

Is this correct?
If YES, does that mean that if I get GL-AR300M today, I either must compile OpenWRT current branch OR get precompiled snapshot from here:

The current work is being done on master, roughly where 19.07 was branched.

When (and hopefully "if") it is accepted, it will first appear on master and be available in "snapshot" builds, typically within a day after merged into master. I can't comment on what, if anything, would be backported to openwrt-19.07, prior to "release".

The GL-AR300M "NAND" target on ath79 isn't bootable, as far as I know, as there is no spi-nand driver on the ath79 target prior to Linux 4.19 (and that is a Linux 4.14 kernel).

The GL.iNet firmware, v3, supports NAND today. I run it on the GL-AR750S that I travel with. It is very robust, full-featured, and builds on 18.06.1. GL.iNet adds travel-friendly features, a simplified GUI in addition to LuCI, and NAND drivers. They maintain a well-populated package repo. It's hard for me to argue in any way that OpenWrt 18.06 gives you anything more than what GL.iNet provides with their v3 firmware. That would be my "today" solution (and, in fact, is) without hesitation.

Budget permitting, I would buy a GL-AR300M over the GL-AR150 and run v3 firmware until there is "native" NAND support on the OpenWrt tree.

Edit: Here's the current version of my source -- this is not a pull request and the Paragon NAND support (older-production GL-AR300M units) is not completely tested at this time, nor has it been submitted to upstream Linux in this form.

Current merge-base is 2019-06-11 c53f62b111